Have you ever heard of train surfing in Australia?
I was on the Craigieburn train from the city this week and three kids got on. They were probably around 15 or 16 years old.
As we approached Essendon station, one of the kids, the skinniest one, made his way to the door and then popped out onto the platfom.
“Are you going to surf this train Paco?” his two mates asked as he disappeared from view.
In between remarking on how crazy their mate Paco was, the two mates stuck their heads out the train at each station to check if he was presumably still hanging on to the roof of the train or had fallen off.
This was done with a mixture of admonishment and admiration as if they wished they were as crazy as Paco, but glad they weren’t nearly as brave.
This apparently is “train surfing” – climbing onto the roof of the train and “surfing” it while it moves.
As we headed towards Oak Park, a train coming in the opposite direction whizzed past at what felt like 200 km per hour.
Was Paco still hanging on or was he a bloody, mangled corpse lying on the tracks betwen Glenbervie and Strathmore?
His friends didn’t seem too bothered.
At Pascoe Vale station, one stop before I got off, Paco’s mates got off and wandered off down the platform, without Paco.
I got off the train at Oak Park and as the train left the station I waited for it to pass to see if Paco was still hanging on, no doubt grinning.
Put there was no Paco. Who knows where he was? Had he gotten off earlier? Was he ever surfin the train? Had he fallen off?
In May last year The Age newspaper reported the story of a teen who fell off a train on the Sandringham line, critically injuring himself, while train surfing with his mates.
In January, a teen died after being electrocuted after train-surfing. He was sitting on the roof of the train.
In 2004, a 14 year-old boy had both his legs amputated after falling off a train while train surfing in the UK.
There are a three basic requirements to be a train surfer:
Firstly, you have to be a complete idiot.
Secondly, you have to have friends who are also hopeless idiots as well.
Thirdly, you have to believe you’re invincible.